• September 18, 2020

Permian Basin roadwork nabs federal funding` - Odessa American: Local News

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Permian Basin roadwork nabs federal funding`

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Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2020 4:35 pm

Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Transportation announced on Thursday that TxDOT has won a federal grant to help transform an intersection on I-20, which is set to ease congestion and make roads safer.

Through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development Transportation grants, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded TxDOT $25 million for the I-20 and Cotton Flat Road interchange near Midland, a press release detailed.

“Improving the infrastructure in the Permian Basin is critical to the movement of people and goods that support the largest source of oil and gas production in this country,” Abbott stated in the press release. “I thank the U.S. Department of Transportation and Secretary Elaine Chao for recognizing the vital role that this region continues to play in our nation’s energy independence. Working together with TxDOT, the federal government continues to show its commitment bettering the roads and bridges across Texas.”

There were plenty of thanks to go around.

“We are grateful to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Mike Conaway for their leadership in securing these funds for our great state,” Chairman J. Bruce Bugg, Jr. also stated in the press release. “Interstate 20 is a vital energy trade corridor not only for Texas, but for the entire United States. This BUILD grant is a huge boost in our efforts to increase safety along this corridor and to connect the Permian Basin energy sector to global markets.”

Energy production in the Permian Basin is reportedly projected to more than double over the next four years.

The project is set to demolish the current overpass over I-20 and build a new one so the interstate goes over Cotton Flat Road. This will eliminate the possibility of bridge strikes that caused lengthy traffic delays and posed a serious safety risk.

Between 2015 and 2018, there were seven reported bridge strikes at this location, the press release stated. The continued increase in energy activity is creating significant damage to roads from water, sand, equipment and big trucks, creating a safety issue for all drivers in those areas.

“I-20 is an essential corridor for both travel and trade in our community. Not only does it support our critical energy sector, but it is also a vital east-west corridor for the agriculture, mining, trucking, construction, and manufacturing industries. This grant will go towards raising the Cotton Flat Road overpass — which has suffered from numerous bridge strikes and has been a safety hazard with frequent traffic shutdowns. I am pleased to see the Trump Administration continue to invest in our local infrastructure, and look forward to the finished overpass,” Congressman Mike Conaway stated in the press release.

TxDOT announced a historic investment throughout the Permian Basin over the next 10 years through its Unified Transportation Program. The Commission approved more than $600 million more funding for improvements in the UTP for the Permian Basin in 2019.

“Safety is our top priority and we appreciate the assistance from our federal partners to address a booming area that not only benefits the citizens of Texas, but the nation as a whole,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass.

“The Permian Strategic Partnership is thrilled USDOT is recognizing the importance of the Permian Basin to our state, nation and world by awarding BUILD Grant funds to this TxDOT project,” said Don L. Evans, chairman for the Permian Strategic Partnership. “The Permian is one of the most strategically important oil producing regions in the world, and it is critical we continue to invest in the region’s priority infrastructure projects to fully realize its potential.”

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